A dictionary is not only a writer’s best companion; it is one of the handiest tools to learn a new language. Whether you use a print version, e-book, web or mobile app, it’s purely a matter of choice. However, if you use a dictionary too much, it can affect your reading skills. 

The trick is to be able to guess the meaning of the new word as you’re reading the content, use the text surrounding the unknown word in order to do it, and then search for the actual meaning of the word using the dictionary. In this way, you can read faster and still build the skills required to read in Tamil without the help of a dictionary

What happens if you’re really unsure of a word’s meaning, though? What about if your guess was incorrect, and you start using the word in the wrong shade of meaning and context? Here are some tips to practise reading, make guesswork of the context, and then use the dictionary to check if you’re correct.

  • Select the content to practise with:
    Choose something that you can read of manageable length. Select a magazine article, news, or even blog of a decent number of words. If you go for a book, sample one or two pages as a starter.
  • Read it at a brisk pace:
    Flip through the pages of article and try to ‘get the gist’ or ‘essence’ of it. Don’t focus on the specifics at this juncture; you can set aside some time for it later. This is particularly useful because if you read through the details of anything and everything here, you might end up harping on too much of something that will be explained in detail as you proceed to read further.

This is it for this blog post. We will discuss some more techniques on how to use a dictionary to study new words in the subsequent blog.

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